Madame LaLaurie holds a special place in the mythology of the South, and New Orleans in particular. If there ever was a house that was haunted, it would be her mansion, a collection of rooms used for grotesquely mistreating and ending the lives of slaves in the most violent ways possible. Born Marie Delphine Macarty, Madame LaLaurie, wealthy socialite and slave owner had a body count that rumored to be somewhere near 100.
Many people believe that it was after she married her third husband that LaLaurie's violent instincts kicked in. Whatever the reason, she was known to openly flog her slaves for even the most trivial of perceived slights. Even given the abhorrent standards of behavior towards slaves in her time and place, this was considered extreme, and her behavior got her investigated for cruelty to slaves in 1828, 1829, and 1832.
Some historians believe her worst actions may have been exaggerated over time as her tale became a legend, but even contemporary news reports of the area paint a terrifying picture. With this collection of gruesome facts, you’ll come to meet one of the most disturbing people who ever walked the face of the earth, and one who never faced any recrimination for the brutality she doled out to her slaves. Actress Kathy Bates depicted a fictionalized version of LaLaurie in the third season of American Horror Story.
Madame LaLaurie has become a part of New Orleans legend, and her house, as it stands now, is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the slaves who met their demise at her hands. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, the story is so disturbing that a haunting feels likely.
She Attempted to Turn a Woman Into a Human Caterpillar
After Madame LaLaurie's mansion caught fire and the people of New Orleans rushed to save the slaves who were trapped inside, they found some truly disturbing human "experiments" locked in the attic of the house. “[A] victim [of the 1834 fire who] obviously had her arms amputated and her skin peeled off in a circular pattern, making her look like a human caterpillar,” and another who had had her limbs broken and reset “at odd angles so she resembled a human crab.”
She Wrapped Her Slaves' Intestines Around Their Bodies Like Belts
It's hard to know whether LaLaurie escalated or deescalated her grotesque mistreatment during the time she held slaves, but one of the sickest forms LaLaurie committed was chaining women up, disemboweling them, then wrapping their intestines around their waists. She would then let their bodies hang and rot.
She Stuffed Animal Waste Into One Woman's Mouth, Then Sewed It Shut
One of the most brutal forms of torment that LaLaurie exacted on her slaves was not only disgusting, but it proves that she likely didn't act alone. After breaking into the Madame's attic to save slaves, rescuers found one woman who had her mouth stuffed with animal excrement and her lips sewn shut.
Aside from being one of the most gruesome torments that we can imagine, it's also something that would be hard to do on your own. In order to do this, presumably someone has to hold the person down, and you need at least one more person to handle the animal feces, and maybe a third to sew. LaLaurie gets the credit for being the boogeywoman of New Orleans, but she probably wasn't alone.
She Broke A Woman's Bones To Make Her Fit Into A Tiny Cage
Many of LaLaurie's slaves were horrifically mangled, with bones that had been many times broken and reset. When the attic was finally opened up, one woman was discovered missing her arms and legs. Another woman had had her bones twisted and broken in order to fit her inside a tiny metal cage meant for dogs. Both women were still alive.